Herbarium Policy

Policy on collection and incorporation of herbarium specimens


The NCW Beadle Herbarium (NE) aims to have a comprehensive regional collection and research appropriate collection of plant specimens housed under conditions of and curated along lines of world's best practice.



The region of prime focus for comprehensive representation in the herbarium includes the Northern Tablelands, North Coast, North West Slopes Botanical Divisions of NSW. The Western Plains and Central Western Slopes Divisions and South East Queensland are also of considerable interest. Areas further afield are of low priority.

Appropriate (regional, national or international) coverage of plant groups subject to active research by academic staff and research students of the University will be sought. To see Botany's current research activities please visit the School of Environmental and Rural Science research pages.

Quality and Quantity

Specimens should be of the highest quality possible. Given biological variation and the stated 'focus' of the Herbarium the specimens should represent an adequate sample of available material and where ever possible be fertile. Specimens should be prepared using appropriate techniques (see Procedures below).

All specimens to be incorporated into the Herbarium must be accompanied by adequate specimen and site information. Specimen information will be incorporated into the Herbarium computer database.


Data on plants from botanical and ecological research should be 'specimen-backed'; i.e. high quality voucher specimens accompanied by good specimen and site information.

Inadequate specimens that serve short needs for research projects may not be incorporated into the Herbarium.

No charge will be made for incorporation of suitable voucher specimens (though donations for this purpose will be gratefully received).

New Projects

Staff and students of the University initiating projects that involve use of the NCW Beadle Herbarium should contact the Herbarium prior to commencement of the project.


On the commencement of new projects involving the collection of plant specimens, supervisors and/or students should consult with the Director of the Herbarium as to the needs of the project in regard to the Herbarium facilities, and appropriate sampling strategy for specimens/vouchers. The 'new projects' pro forma should be completed and returned to the Herbarium.

Researchers might like to register new research taxonomic projects with 'Plant Systematics Research in Australasia'. See the World Wide Web location: www.anbg.gov.au/chah/psra

Budget for the time to incorporate plant specimens into the herbarium. It is the responsibility of students and general staff making collections to mount specimens for incorporation into the Herbarium. Academic staff may wish to discuss possible arrangements for the incorporation of specimens into the Herbarium. Duplicate collections should be allocated for distribution following consultation with the Director of the Herbarium.

Plant to budget for the cost of collection, and incorporation and databasing of specimens into grant proposals. The table of costs developed by the Council of Heads of Australian Herbaria is available to help in this budgetary process.

Equipment for preparation of herbarium/voucher specimens (day presses, presses, cardboards, and aluminium sheets) can be signed out from the Herbarium.

The minimum specimens and site information required for Herbarium specimens is as set out in the NCW Beadle Herbarium collecting books. Collecting books are available from the Botany office. Jeweller's tags are available from the Herbarium for Botany users, others may purchase tags from paper suppliers or stationers. Other materials for the incorporation of specimen into the herbarium (e.g. archival paper and folders, tape, bags for fragments, etc. are available in the Herbarium.

A video on collecting and preparing plant specimens 'Hot off the plant press' is available. Books providing additional information on collection and preparation of specimens are available from the Director of the Herbarium.

v.3 October 19, 2001

Policy on identification service


Botany and the NCW Beadle Herbarium (NE) aim to provide an efficient and effective plant identification service to the northern region of NSW.



Botany will provide a plant identification service. This service is provided free to members of the public from the local region for non-commercial purposes. The service is generally not available to students if the specimens are a part of compulsory course work. Individuals or organisations using the service for commercial purposes will be charged. Non-profit organisations may be charged at reduced rates. University-based individuals or groups using this service for funded projects may be charged.


Identifications are provided for fresh or dry plant specimens. The level of identification usually depends on the quality of the specimen and information on the plant and site of collection.

Specimens should be of the highest quality possible. Wherever possible specimens should be fertile. Specimens should be prepared using appropriate techniques (see procedures below).

Slides and photographs are also accepted, but the identification may not extend to the species level.

Our expertise is in native and naturalised plants of the region, though identification to some level of cultivated plants may be available.


Mr Matthew Gray will co-ordinate the service and act as point of first contact.

Costs (including GST)

A 'per-specimen' rate may be negotiated. Time-based work will be charged as follows
$25 minimum
$100 per hour in 15 minute blocks
$300 per half day (i.e. 3.5 h)
$500 per full day (i.e. 7 h)
Payment of charges for identification may be waived if the material and accompanying information is of suitable standard and the material is donated for incorporation into the NCW Beadle Herbarium.

Plant specimens

Incomplete or inadequate specimens may not be able to be identified.

Samples should fit inside a fold of a tabloid newspaper and include a stem with leaves attached, and flowers and fruits. Press (and dry if delayed in bringing the specimens) between sheets of newspaper.

Bases of small plants (including grasses) should be collected.

Specimens of eucalypts should include buds and fruits and adult and juvenile leaves and, a description and extent of the bark type.

Provide a numbered index list to the specimens and tag the specimens with the same number. Up to six specimens in one collection will be dealt with for individuals.

Information on the size of the plant, its habit, habitat, location and date of collection should accompany the specimens. Collecting books with further information are available for a small charge from Botany.